A great brand film starts with great planning by the producer, right?


A great brand film actually starts with a great brief – and someone who knows how to use it skillfully as a key tool in the commissioning process. It’s the first step in turning a creative idea into a brilliant film delivering the results you want. Think of the commissioning process at the very start of the film’s process as planting its acorn – how you plant the acorn can affect how mightily the oak will grow.

Perhaps you’re fairly new to commissioning video or you’re not getting the results you need from your video campaigns. Or maybe you’re on the lookout for some fresh tips and inspiration to help your videos fly like the beautiful butterflies you need them to be.

At Maker we’ve devised our “A to Z of Commissioning Award-winning Video” guide to help remove the uncertainty when embarking on the process. It includes the dos and don’ts of turning your video briefs into reality and here we highlight the first few letters to help kickstart a silky smooth production process.


It’s vital that the very first step is assessing what you want to achieve with the content. Try to establish and agree with all parties involved the objectives of the film. Who is the audience and what do we want them to feel, think or do after they’ve watched the film? Be careful; try not to achieve too many different things with one video.

A very clear brief from Mystery Vibe; to raise awareness of the brand via a brand film rather than sell a specific product. The message needed to be genuine and honest to reflect the brand’s ethos and speak directly to their potential customers and it’s stood the test of time. Stephanie, Chief Pleasure Officer at Mystery Vibe says, “Everyone loves the video and it’s been timeless. Even though our website has undergone three redesigns over the years, we have kept the same video.”

Perhaps you’re launching a new product, raising awareness of a brand, encouraging people to support a cause, drive more website traffic or generating more leads. Different kinds of video achieve different things. How are you going to measure the success of the video? Use insights to establish what kind of film would work best depending on what you want to achieve and where the audience are on their journey.

Is video definitely the right approach for your message? Film is emotive and can really move people to action. It’s also a great way of simplifying complex processes and information and it can help audiences to see things from a different perspective.

Right at the start of the project for DCHS a very clear set of criteria for success was shared around the recruitment targets of the campaign. So it was great to see that the number of people registering interest in a career in the Trust was over 12 x the target and the click through rate from the hero video was double the industry standard.


Once all parties are agreed on what you’re trying to achieve you’re ready to brief it in.  Always provide a written brief and if you don’t already have a production partner in mind for the job send it out to 3 or 4 companies. Share as much as you can about the project, the reasons for doing it and what you hope to achieve with it. No matter how big or small the project, always provide a brief. If you need a template to work from – get in touch.

Your creative team might have come up with a concept for the film. Your production partner can help you work out if that’s viable for the budget and should also be able to advise on concepts if you don’t have one. It’s really useful to provide visual references in your brief – examples of other projects and films you’ve seen that will help guide everyone towards the same outcome.


There are tricks you can use to maximise the return on your investment. Plan these in from the very beginning so that you don’t have to reverse engineer alternative versions for social at the 11th hour in the edit suite!

Make the most of what’s already happening. For example, during a stills photoshoot with Jessica Ennis and Victoria Pendleton for Adidas, the brand capitalised on the opportunity and asked us to shoot some films around the action. 

Every shoot is an opportunity – think about the different audiences you might want to connect with as part of the campaign. An additional scene, a different call-to-action, an alternative ending and sub-edits are great ways to create more versions that can work for different audiences. Different platforms have different tech specs which can impact on the creative if considered early on. They also have different optimum lengths – keep films under 2 minutes for online and under 20 seconds for social.

Careful planning and management of logistics meant we could film in 3 European cities to make a series of 13 destination films. Core visuals could be repurposed across the different versions because we knew they would have different audiences.


At Maker, we believe in a director-led approach to filmmaking. By matching the right director to your brief, you can be sure that you’ll be using the power of filmmaking to connect. Be cinematic, be bold, tell a story. Rise above the sea of content for content’s sake and make a mini movie!

Think cinematic in style and narrative to give a flavour of a 2 hour feature in a 2 minute feature. In this recent commission from Havas Lynx we used the boat’s engine as a metaphor for the viewer’s heart.

Take the viewer on a journey, so the audience invest in a character and are compelled to follow their story to the end. Using a metaphor or analogy – a creative concept to dramatize the message – can help hit home. Work with filmmakers who are passionate about the medium and will bring a certain level of craft and production values to make something memorable.

Thea and Luke in action

You can enjoy the full A to Z at our events in Manchester in March and London in April so please contact us for a place on the guestlist. We also deliver workshops around the A to Z to help agencies and brands make better films that have more impact. If you’re interested drop us a line at /